Health & Medical Family Life & Health

Have a Ball! Build Kids" Motor Skills with Ball Games

Updated July 30, 2015.

Get on a roll by stocking your toy box with the best balls for kids. Appealing, age-appropriate toys and sports equipment motivate your child to play actively and move her muscles. Plus, right-sized balls help children master motor skills (like throwing and catching), which builds physical literacy and confidence.

Best Balls for Babies and Toddlers

Little ones can build both small and large motor skills by exploring balls of different sizes and textures.

Help your baby roll them back and forth or drop them onto the floor to see if they bounce. Try:
  • Soft, plush balls
  • Balls with a bell inside (these teach cause and effect)
  • Textured rubber balls
  • Inflatable beach balls
  • Tennis balls
  • Ping-pong balls
  • A ball pit (or make your own—buy 6- to 8-inch soft plastic balls, add to play yard or wading pool)

Best Balls for Preschoolers

Between ages 3 and 5, kids are beginning to master kicking, throwing and catching. Large, lightweight balls are easier for them to manipulate and will be less frustrating. Many of these can be used indoors and out:
  • Inflatable beach balls
  • Rubber playground balls
  • Lightweight plastic baseball or softball (with "fat bat" and tee; pictured)
  • Foam balls
  • Mini basketball and hoop, soccer ball and net, and other scaled-down sports equipment

Best Balls for Grade-Schoolers

By age 6, your child may be ready to try real sports balls (with appropriate safety gear, such as shin guards for soccer and a batting helmet for baseball). She may enjoy playing ball games (from foursquare to kickball to badminton) with other kids.

Depending on your child's interests, keep on hand:
  • Playground balls
  • Baseballs/softballs and mitts
  • Soccer balls and a net (or improvise with traffic cones or cardboard boxes)
  • Basketballs and a hoop
  • Footballs
  • Tennis balls
  • Foam balls for indoor play (think Nerf)
  • Inflatable beach balls or balloons

Best Balls for Middle Schoolers

By this time, your child's preferences are probably clear, and you're tripping over his ball of choice. For fun family ball games (if you have the backyard space), consider:
  • Badminton
  • Croquet
  • Blongo ball, also called ladder golf ()

You might also like on "Health & Medical"

Leave a reply